Devolution conference on, senators, mps boycott
President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned corrupt Governors and other County officials that the war against graft will not spare anybody, terming corruption as similar to any other crime and those who are found guilty of it shall be treated as ordinary criminals.
In his speech during the official opening of the Devolution Conference that is ongoing at Meru Polytechnic, Meru County and which was read by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, the Head of State termed the three years of devolution as a huge success though corruption still remains a great hamper to much bigger success.
“Of course we have difficulties in fighting corruption but that is not an excuse for you to pick the vice and run with it or fail to fight it with all your might,” President Kenyatta said in the speech.
“If you fail to handle it (the money) prudently… if you fail to handle it with care as Kenyans demand, then you are no better than ordinary criminals and my government will not hesitate to handle you as one,” he said.
Government committed to supporting devolution
Kenyatta reiterated that His government was committed to seeing devolution, one of the major provisions of the new constitution, achieve its objectives.
“We must guard the fruits of devolution as it came after a long struggle,” the President said, adding that devolution has been a great success because the system had brought resources and services closer to Kenyans.
Already about Ksh. 1 trillion has been disbursed to the counties since their inception after the 2013 General Election, though the cash expenditure has had its fair share of challenges with several Governors and other County officials having had to face The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission over graft allegations.
The President urged the County Chiefs to appoint more women to hold positions in County Governments while at the same time not discriminating against marginalized groups.
“County governments must work with us for devolution to succeed. The national government cannot carry the burden of deepening devolution on its own,” he added.
The CS explained that the President could not make it for the Conference as he was held up with the Cabinet retreat in Naivasha, something that did not go well down the throats of Governors as Members of the National Assembly, the Senate and other National Government officials had lived to their threats of boycotting the third annual Conference despite them receiving invitations, with Senators terming the conference as a ‘governors’ conference and not a devolution conference.
More courts to reduce backlog of cases
Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was the chief guest during the opening of the Conference in which the Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga also addressed, praising the great transformation his office has overseen since 2013.
Dr. Mutunga brought to the attention of the thousands of delegates attending the conference that there were more than 50 mobile courts, up from the previous number of 19, at the same time noting that he would ensure more courts are built in the country to reduce the load of unresolved cases in the current courts.
Council of Governors chair, who is also the host Governor, Peter Munya looks forward to a successful conference though, is quick to lament the slow disbursement of funds from the national government, thus slowing down their operations in the Counties.
In what is more like getting back to their cry for more funding, Munya adds that the national government should be more committed to supporting devolution by increasing county allocations, a call uniformly supported by all the governors.
The Conference will see governors present an evaluation of what their counties have been able to achieve and forge a way ahead, bearing in mind that the general elections are beckoning.
The Conference will be officially closed on Saturday 23rd April 2016 by Former Prime Minister CORD’s supremo Raila Odinga.
MPs fury over Governors’ spending
This is going down as it was revealed to Parliament that governors have been financing their council using funds allocated to counties, with claims that the county bosses have spent close to Sh1 billion over three years, something that caused an uproar in Parliament on Wednesday evening.
The County bosses were accused by MPs for misappropriating money meant for funding government expenditure to finance the activities of the Council of Governors grouping.
The document was revealed by Majority Leader Aden Duale who read out the remittances by the counties, which showed that regions considered hardship areas have been paying the most to fund the council.
“This money is written nowhere. The County Assemblies have not approved. We must interrogate even how the Controller of Budget approved this,” said Mr Duale.